Now and Then by Richard Seltzer

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Now and Then

by Richard Seltzer

Copyright 1976 Richard Seltzer

Audio-book version of Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome (complete text, plus illustrations and audio narration by the author). To hear the audio, you must have the RealPlayer.

Once upon a space there was a time, a cute little time. Her name was Now.

Her father was Yesterday, and her mother was Tomorrow. And they loved her very much. But there was nobody around to play with.

Her big brother, Today, was twenty-four hours tall -- so big that she could hardly see his face. And it was very hard for him to bend way down and play with little Now.

There were many many times -- good times and bad times, long times and short times. But none of them was anywhere near as little as Now.

When her mommy saw how lonely she was, she told her, "We aren't the only times. We're a special class of times, a leisure class. There are many other times who have to work for a living, and maybe among them you can find some time just your size to play with."

So Now flew (for all time flies) to the land of working time. There was A-Time-to-be-Born and A-Time-to-Die, A-Time-for Sowing and A-Time-for-Reaping. There were big big times like A-Time-for-War and A-Time-for-Sorrow. But there were little times, too -- times almost as little as Now, times like A-Time-for-Peace and A-Time-for-Joy. So she asked A-Time-for-Joy if he'd like to play.

But he said, "Don't bother me. I'm busy. I've got no space to play in. All I do is have joy, joy, joy; everywhere nothing but joy. It's a drag, of course. And I'd love to play with you if I could. But a job's a job... Why don't you try A-Time-to-Play. He should be able to help you."

But A-Time-to-Play said, "You want to play? You've got to be kidding. I'd give you this job, glad to get rid of it. But the labor market's tight these days, and a time's got to eat. So I'm sorry, but I can't help you."

"But I want a time to play with. Just some time, any time. Don't any times play together? Surely you must know?"

"Most times around here are used to being by themselves. Afterall, we've got work to do. We're respectable. Only those good-for-nothing, lazy... Oh, there are times that play around."

"Mommy said that there'd be times like that."

"Yes. I might have figured as much. Tomorrow's not so far from being one herself."

"One what?"

"An indefinite. No reflection on your mother personally, Now. She raised herself up from all that. She married a time of the leisure class. She's respectable, Now. But what she came from... Don't get me wrong, Now. What I'm saying is for your own good. You've got it in your blood, and maybe your mother hasn't taught you. You see, Now, Tomorrow's parents are Forever and Ever: two of the laziest, most indefinite times in the universe. They play all right. All they do is play, play, play. But they

have no fixed place in society like Yesterday and nine o'clock. And they don't do a bit of work. Why they're the very lowest class of time. And (but don't tell your mother I said this), Ever's brother, Never, is so low he isn't a time at all. He's an enemy of society, that's what he is. He's ..."

But Now didn't wait to hear the rest. She wanted to see her grandparents who she hadn't heard of before and to meet these merry times, these free and easy, happy-go-lucky times of the "lowest class."

And she liked Forever and Ever -- they were so much fun to talk to. But they were so big. She really couldn't tell just how big they were, but together they just seemed to have no end at all.

And she grew very, very unhappy because even here she couldn't find anybody her size to play with.

But Then.

Yes, Then.

She saw him. And he saw her. And Now and Then. Then and Now played and played and played.

Now and Then -- the greatest playmates of all time.  privacy statement